Chelsea Wolfe
Pain Is Beauty


4.5
superb

Review

by Brenna K USER (1 Reviews)
September 8th, 2013 | 12 replies


Release Date: 09/03/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Massive goth rock with fallen angel vocals.

2013 has been an excellent year for Sargent House, and Chelsea Wolfe’s third studio album, Pain is Beauty, is no exception. Expanding on the aesthetic of Unknown Rooms and Apokalypsis is a tall order in and of itself, but Wolfe has managed to pull it off spectacularly, and most importantly, without losing the animal brutality and rawness that makes her new brand of dark electronic drone unique.

While Pain is Beauty retains a lot of the same qualities that her previous two albums had, Wolfe seems to have refined them slightly and pulled them into a more consistent tone throughout. The album flows seamlessly from track to track, carrying the listener through dark and disturbing soundscapes. The opener, “Feral Love,” acts as the perfect overture to the album, opening with a very simple, ominous melody, then carrying that melody through a consistent, driving beat with Wolfe’s haunting vocals adding the third layer. In many ways, “Feral Love” takes the primal beats so prevalent in Apokalypsis, presents them to the listener, and then shows the ways in which they have been altered and developed to produce the new album.

A standout track on Pain is Beauty is difficult to pick, but “Sick” stands out to me as one of the most challenging and stunning pieces of the album. “Sick” lacks any kind of driving percussion, yet manages to draw the listener through a lush pool of sound full of strings and pipe organ sounds. On top of that, the lyrics match Wolfe’s aesthetic perfectly, with lines like “i should be put to death for ever being cruel to you / you washed me clean like no one ever could / come closer now and step right into / the wide mouth, the sharp teeth of the one you love.”

Wolfe’s lyrics are arguably some of the best of the year. She keeps her images clear and terrifying, yet uses them in unfamiliar and disconcerting ways to the point where they are almost impossible to decode. They are ethereal and bizarre, but it works because the entire album works in the same way.

Detractors of the album say that Wolfe has gone too far in terms of scaling back the primal wildness of her music, but I disagree. That natural aesthetic is still very present, especially in the percussion of “Feral Love” and “The Warden.” I would say that this album was a chance for Wolfe to expand sonically. It’s an exploration of ways to mix the refined nature of instruments like organs and harpsichords with the primal heartbeat rhythms that she’s so fond of. Apokalypsis and Unknown Rooms are stepping stones to where Pain is Beauty is, and it will be interesting to see where Wolfe takes her sound next in its development.


user ratings (278)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Angel STAFF (3.5)
Growing pains....


Comments:Add a Comment 
slep
September 8th 2013


1604 Comments


Pretty solid first review here! Nice username too, btw.

Chelsea's pretty good; I haven't heard this yet, but if it's better than Apokalypsis (which for me was one of the best albums of 2011) I will be pleased.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 8th 2013


28629 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

wats good brenna

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

TooLateToGoBack
September 8th 2013


1773 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good, good

Tyrael
September 8th 2013


20893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

correct rating

BigPleb
September 8th 2013


36979 Comments


Hmm.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins on Io

Tyrael
September 8th 2013


20893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

leb you are such a party pooper

BigPleb
September 8th 2013


36979 Comments


Na dude, this shit is great.

Should probably go through her discog tbh, might like this more as a result.

Relinquished
September 8th 2013


25164 Comments


you will

Taxt
September 8th 2013


654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Last.fm plays for the past 30 days:

Chelsea Wolfe - 214
2nd highest - 74


So yeah I think I like this

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


6191 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

Fortunately, this fantastic album is still streaming from bandcamp.

http://chelseawolfe.bandcamp.com/

Digging: Aeon Sable - Visionaers

zxlkho
September 9th 2013


3465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

203 plays in 3 days.

I win.

JokineAugustus
October 31st 2013


6200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sicko's!

Digging: KEN mode - Reprisal



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